'Hot Doughnuts Now' in Tacoma as first Krispy Kreme opens

When ground was broken on Feb. 18 for Tacoma’s first Krispy Kreme store, Mayor Bill Baarsma said having the popular doughnut outlet in your neighborhood meant you had arrived.

Well, Tacoma arrived this morning, with the grand opening of the Krispy Kreme Tacoma Mall location.

Hundreds of people turned out, many of them holdovers from The Dozen Hour Party that began at 5:30 last night, where those in attendance enjoyed movie classics on a 40-foot theater screen, games, prizes and more.

A long line stretched from the building’s exit doorway – site of the ribbon-cutting ceremony – out to the parking lot long before the official 5:30 a.m. opening.

Inside, Krispy Kreme officials and employees worked enthusiastically, if not a little frantically, in order to prepare for the store’s imminent opening to the public.

A festive atmosphere permeated the event, the cool early morning air heavy with a sense of anticipation.

Nearby, the MetroParks Tacoma dance troupe performed for the entertainment of the assembled crowd.

Those on hand for the long-anticipated grand opening included members of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber; Tacoma Rainiers players Scott Atchison, J.J. Putz and Brian Sweeney; Rhubarb the reindeer, mascot of the Rainiers; and Kathy Kannada, Mrs. Washington for 2002-2003.

Flanked by other Krispy Kreme officials and store employees and with a pair of giant novelty scissors courtesy of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber in hand, Gerard Centioli, president and CEO of KremeWorks, the Pacific Northwest Krispy Kreme area developer, was set to cut the ribbon.

“The scissors aren’t big enough!” Centioli joked, as the unwieldy cutting shears failed to cut through the ribbon during his first few attempts.

To thunderous applause, he was finally able to cut through the ribbon, officially opening Tacoma’s first Krispy Kreme store.

Almost immediately, a crowd of people rushed to enter the store, with employees directing customers off to the side to the store’s entrance, where people passed through a Krispy Kreme merchandise tent, which offered customers a variety of merchandise with the company logo, such as clothing items (including boxer shorts), toy cars and pens and pencils.

The first dozen walkup customers received a commemorative shirt autographed by Centiolia. They also got to have their photo taken with Centioli and were able to take their place in line next to the doughnut theater, Krispy Kreme’s glass viewing area where customers can watch the doughnuts being made.

There was a brief respite from the controlled bedlam inside the store for the unveiling of a commemorative glass doughnut courtesy of the Hot Shop at the Museum of Glass.

Josi Callan, Museum of Glass director, and Centioli removed the cover from the work of art, revealing the inedible, jumbo-sized doughnut – with sprinkles.

“We’re just thrilled to have this here,” Centioli said, noting Krispy Kreme refers to its doughnut making area as the “hot shop.”

“That was simply a coincidence,” he said, “but a great one.”

Pleased with the enthusiastic reception the city has given Krispy Kreme, Centioli said he was happy with today’s opening, noting its importance as the first Krispy Kreme outlet in Pierce County.

Krispy Kreme operates four other Washington state locations, including stores in Issaquah, Spokane, Burlington and Seattle.

Krispy Kreme Tacoma Mall is located at 4302 Tacoma Mall Blvd. Just look for the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign.